The application of a multi-faceted approach for evaluating and improving the life cycle environmental performance of service industries

Scott O. Shrake, Melissa M. Bilec, Amy E. Landis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Service industries continue to be to be a driving force economically, both within the US and globally, yet their environmental impacts still tend to be overlooked. This article presents a hybrid life cycle assessment case study to assess and quantify the life cycle impacts of an engineering service firm. The data for the hybrid LCA of the firm's activities and operations was collected for one fiscal year, from January 2009 to December 2009. Data collection methods include an energy audit, personnel survey, and assessment of waste management practices. The results of the case study show that the impacts of employee travel and transportation as well as the building premises are the major contributors to the environmental impact of a service industry (40% and 24% of GWP, respectively) and should be the areas targeted for improvements to reduce life-cycle impacts of similar service firms. The study also reveals that in order to make specific targeted reductions to a firm's life-cycle impacts, more in depth evaluation of certain activities, such as workstation energy consumption, can be essential to identifying unnecessary wastes of resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-276
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume42
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 12 2013

Keywords

  • Engineering service sector
  • Hybrid life cycle assessment
  • Industrial ecology
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Service industry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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